Based on an intensive fieldwork in a southern Hebei village in northern China (1992/3), the author takes an institutional approach and focuses on the way deliberate Chinese state policies driven by new economic and social agendas since the late 1970s have impacted on marriage, family relations and consequently on the way fertility trends have been adversely affected; the study is also very much concerned with the human dimension and the way in which such social and economic changes are perceived and applied in a rural community. The research presented in this study goes a long way to unravelling the puzzle concerning the reasons for a very rapid decline in Chinese fertility rates, contrasting sharply with a very different fertility transition within western cultures.
'An important addition to the literature on Chinese fertility. One of the few in-depth case studies of reproductive life in the countryside, it connects economic dynamics to demographic dynamics in compelling ways while deepening our insight into the microlevel processes of fertility decisionmaking.' - Population and Development Review